Skip to content

ORION HARVEST MOON

220px-OrionCC

HARVEST:  THE CROPS ARE COMING IN

I looked up at the night sky early this morning and saw an old friend…the constellation Orion.  Other signs point to the end of summer and our growing season in Wheatland Wyoming.  Like the farmers and ranchers around us we have been nurturing products all summer with hope for a great harvest.  Most of the real work is being done online with a team forming to design and build a solution for the aerospace future.  We may be close to a harvest on that crop now.

Life for me is still rural Wyoming with fringe benefits from local farmers I bought a lamb and had it dressed for about $6.00 per pound.  So now there are lamb roasts, chops, ribs, and loafs.  Dog and I are NOT losing weight in spite of miles of walking daily!  While neighbors were cutting hay, I bought a lawnmower (after three years!) and began harvesting my prairie patch.  Shoulder high weeds were a challenge, but the little whacker chopped a path through.  Next year we may try to plant some real grass!

My plans got changed when my brother John suffered an embolism and I made an express run to Arizona.  He is recovering now, and I may recover from this high speed run soon too.  My friend and partner in entrepreneurial schemes Don Eyermann put me up for a few days.  I can do some business while I am in the Phoenix area too.  We have partners here who may deliver segments of the vehicle fabrication and assembly.  So this is a practice run for liaison missions in the future production run.

There are a number of mysterious sightings flying around our command center lately, so no one knows where the market will take us.  The future of Don Quixote Aerospace is up in the air.

IMG_2524

WHEATLAND HARVEST MOON

IMG_2339

LARAMIE PEAK VIEWS

IMG_3343

SMOKE HAZE FROM WESTERN WILD FIRES

IMG_2555

COLOR COMING!

IMG_2551

THE BUZZARDS ARE BACK…MOVING SOUTH

IMG_3328

THE LAMB IS PROCESSED

IMG_3339

AND WE ARE COOKING NOW!

IMG_3356

LAMB LOAF AND SHOULDER ROAST

IMG_2437

THE REAPER

IMG_2433

AND THE HARVEST

IMG_2439

IT IS FINISHED

IMG_2571

READY TO ROLL SOUTH; LIGHT FAST LOAD

IMG_2705

NEW MEXICO RAIN

IMG_2575

AND THE SUN BREAKS OUT

IMG_2712

WARM RECEPTION TO ARIZONA

IMG_2730

FOR A WHILE…SALT RIVER CANYON IN THE RAIN

STAY CLOSE TO THE ROCKS ON THE RIGHT, NOT THE CLIFF ON THE LEFT!

IMG_2734

TRUCKS COMING DOWN THE OTHER CANYON WALL TO THE BRIDGE

IMG_2578

DON FIXING SANDWICHES IN MESA ARIZONA

IMG_2579

WHILE DAVE PULLS KP

IMG_2583

AND DAY ENDS IN ANOTHER ARIZONA SUNSET

IMG_2587

MY FIELD OFFICE

IMG_2588

AND DON’S CAVE

SK19

MYSTERY SIGHTING

L1

RISING HOPE

L11

FOR THE FUTURE

Advertisements

NOW BOARDING…

WYOMING: GATEWAY TO THE NEW FRONTIER

I BOUGHT A CAR AND A TRAILER IN 2012 AND SET OUT TO DISCOVER NEW SPACE ENTERPRISE. Frontier Astronautics of Chugwater Wyoming offered important assets, and the state of Wyoming is totally business friendly. Chugwater is a bit lean on retail stores so the next town, Wheatland, became my new home. The RV parks of Wheatland are home to many workers on the move. RVs are the modern covered wagon. Although I grew up in Michigan, I have family out here so this is home to me now.

We are moving to incorporate but it takes careful planning NOT to be one of the many broken space ventures that litter the landscape. We have some well experienced talent coming on board for the voyage now, so we do have some promise. For design the promise is this: CHANGE. The designs are already obsolete as marketing and engineering bring their red pens to the blueprints!

We have some marketing direction now, and there are places to use a small vehicle for small ventures. But horizontal launch has a big price tag for small ventures. Reusable demands reliable, which is good in the long run but less so up front. Most small launchers push for simplicity so they have some cost advantages. We need a value proposition that leads to bigger profits to follow this prototype.

Launch providers today are mostly expendable, including most rocket stages on air launch systems. Government tends to favor retro systems because there is no pressure to innovate. Vertical systems are spectacular, like steam engines, but not a direction for the future. That leaves the private sector to see the need. What will be the “Wright stuff” to make this happen? Those who invest in the small vehicle need to see the big picture of the future need. If we move our patents together with other new technologies we may be able to paint that big picture.

For those of us involved in the planning sessions that picture is already taking shape, so Join us for a look at the Wyoming Stargate!

IMG_2123

BIG HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

IMG_2683

DEEP IN THE PLANNING SESSIONS AT…

IMG_1965

Don Quixote AEROSPACE WORLD HEADQUARTERS (OUR 100 YEAR OLD HOME)

IMG_2141

LARAMIE PEAK; LANDMARK OF THE OREGON TRAIL; FIRST MOUNTAIN OFF THE PRAIRIE

IMG_2139

ON THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORY

IMG_2135

WHERE EVEN THE CARS ARE LONG IN THE TOOTH!

IMG_2221

AND PIONEER TRADITION DIES HARD…

IMG_2225

REAL HARD!

IMG_2298

WHERE THE RIDERS ARE ROUGH

IMG_2291

THE PIONEER SPIRIT FOLLOWS THE TRAIL TO THE VISION

IMG_2308

OF A BETTER PLACE FOR THE FUTURE…

SS1

Don Quixote AEROSPACE NEW WORLD HEADQUARTERS!

SS3

MY KIND OF CUBICLE!

SS5

DESIGN COMPLETED

SS4

AND UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

IMG_2326

LET US DREAM OF THE FUTURE,

IMG_2688

HITCH OUR WAGON TO THE STARS…

IMG_2695

AND PREPARE TO BOLDLY GO

goals

CAPTAIN’S LOG 16 MAY TO 01 JULY 2015

SOUR GRAPES

I went to the Space Access Conference to recruit partners for this venture.  I have two potential partners now, and we have identified two or three new partners since then.  The newest entries have some real aerospace credentials, and one even helped with my NASA efforts n the past.

I have responded to NASA solicitations in the past.  I joined two aerospace professionals to bid on the methane thruster competition, but then NASA cancelled the competition.  That was later awarded to Xcor so we might wonder where the competitive bidding went.  Later we entered a competition asking creative inventors for game changing ideas.  The response we got might be paraphrased as “We at NASA already know everything there is to know about aerodynamics”.  Did Anyone mention to them that aerodynamics had major influence on Space Ship Two and the last Spacex mission?

At the space conference I observed that NASA asked for papers on reusable launch systems but the offer was only open for about a month.  I was assured of another chance for the actual contract coming shortly.  So I asked my team to watch the federal solicitations page for that announcement.  I deliver a spreadsheet with program goals and this was a top priority, highlighted in red with bold yellow text.  In Trek-speak that translates as “Red Alert…shields up!”

I finally checked the announcements and found that we MISSED THE RELEASE DATE.  Realistically the requirements for submission might be met by a company with enough office staff to run like crazy and get proposals, costs, and reports turned in.  So “new space” ventures with small teams and funding may not have been invited by design.  This solicitation was issued on May 15, 2015 and is due by July 13 2015 so we had few credible assets for this target.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=1b5130e57f70f0c5924968f70277d1f1&tab=core&tabmode=list&=

There are groups who may be able to launch a 60kg satellite in three years, but who can get all this paperwork done well on short notice?  We are not damaged by technology, we may be crippled by bureaucracy…which I can’t even spell let alone operate.  Here are some targets for the submission:

The following page limitations are established for each portion of the proposal submitted in response to this solicitation. 

Volume Proposal Part Required Page

Limit

 

No. of

Hard

Copies1

Required

CD Copies

I Technical/Management Capability 20 4 2
SRR Level Package 150 4 2
Small Business Utilization 15 4 2
II Past Performance 7 4 2
   
III Price None 4 2
  Financial Statements None 1 2
  Signed Model Contract None 1 2

Seriously my venture was never in a position to generate this effort.  But then is any newspace venture able to do this?  A pretty well heeled venture could get people to generate such a proposal if they risked a lot of man-hours of effort to do the proposal.  This part of a new venture is the hard part; the investment of free labor hours.

Now we address the idea of launching a new venture in space.  Someone has to lead the way by preparing a technology, a business plan, and marketing efforts.  Customer interest may attract investment but it has to be good enough to deliver 20 times their investment at a predetermined time.  The whole package requires your investment in sweat and cash.  Partners may expect equity in return for sweat:  actual labor.  So the leader has to go first.

I have invested over $40,000 in cash.  Labor for only the drafting work (not counting marketing, administration, and various education) is already over $160,000.  I hope I have demonstrated a little commitment in this effort.  Perhaps I can hope to inspire a similar investment from my team.  Over the years I have seen mixed results in this area.  I was taught: “But Jesus said to him, No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Many have joined, but few have shown up for work on Monday.  Breaking news:  if you want equity, send SWEAT!

NASA is not our market.  Just ask your Native American friends about government contracts.  We have more potential for a certain commercial market that our small vehicles can pioneer for now.  We may explore a government offering for practice, but I am not willing to hang all of my hopes on those.

IMG_1432

LIFE AT HOME IS GOOD

IMG_1438

FATTENING, BUT GOOD!

IMG_1477

AND RESTFUL

IMG_1441

WHERE THE GRASS IS GREENER

IMG_1453

STILL A LITTLE SNOW ON THE MOUNTAIN

IMG_1500

UNTIL THE SPRING RAINS GREEN THINGS UP

IMG_1531

WE STILL VISIT THE FRONTIER ASTRONAUTICS SILO

IMG_1566

PREPARING

IMG_1622

FOR EXPERIMENTS…LIKE THE CHILI POWERED ROCKET!

IMG_1527

WE STILL NEED BIG IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE

IMG_1707

AND LITTLE TREATS FOR TODAY

IMG_1693

THE ONLY SURE PAYCHECK:  SUNSETS

P5.2.5P2

AND DREAMS

Well, dreams are great but space is a really mean business environment.  NASA wants a competent builder with good finances and leaders with a record of success.  They know that the market is littered with the wreckage of new space ventures.  Even well funded efforts are passing through the expected path of crash and learn.  I see lots of little spaceplane teams with some credentials.  Others have built on vertical launch with good new technologies to demonstrate.  Most of our little efforts do not have the mean spirited business men who can fire the deadwood or even figure out who it is.  If we think ourselves to be beggars we may think that we can’t be choosers.  But unless your team has the passion for sacrifice they will not see the summit of this mountain.  Fiscal acrophobia is not permitted!

Honestly, small teams with a few good men may not have enough horsepower to make the climb.  Any vehicle requires a multitude of disciplines to cover propulsion, airframes, guidance, thermal protection, and aerodynamics.  Yes, you vertical guys have to watch aerodynamics too!  Then you have to move prototypes to production methods, and manage the business of making money for employees and investors.  Hey-I just got a phone call from a money broker offering a half-million dollars to us.  That won’t even pay for the design effort…and they want to get paid back on time!  Space is an environment that kills dreams on the way to low earth orbit.  Good luck to you Mars tourists!

Don Quixote Aerospace can use the winged development to serve some small markets in the atmosphere.  Unmanned markets are expanding but they have not discovered all the opportunities out there.  We need to see a payoff for investors who create our first small prototypes.  Vertical launch can’t loiter in the atmosphere or slow down long enough to explore the opportunities.  Conventional unmanned airframes also miss some performance potential.  While the dinosaurs have some time here, the little creatures can scurry under their feet…into the future.  Big aerospace and government may be impervious to innovation but we can be content to make small steps in the little things.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”  Luke 16:10New Living Translation (NLT)

CAPTAIN’S LOG 18 MAY 2015

CAPTAIN’S LOG 18 MAY 2015

Our last post concluded on an overnight stop near Albuquerque NM.  We visited a small airport to see a small jet engine with big potential.  Desert Aerospace markets the TJ 100 turbines we are looking at.  http://www.desertaerospace.com/turbines.html

Bob Carlton gave us a tour and more information about the engines and the aircraft currently using them.  These have electric start, generator, fuel and oil pumps and electronic controls.  As we noted before, these are no model airplane engines.

After that visit we returned to course 360 and began the long climb from New Mexico to Colorado.  One overnight stop at Sugarite Canyon State Park got us ready for the last leg.  We had a little issue with Denver traffic and some cargo fell out of the cabinets, but we soon reached the familiar big skies of Wyoming.  After unpacking and a good night’s rest we were greeted by the same weather that sent us to Arizona…snow!

IMG_1318

WAKE UP TO THE SUN SHINE IN NEW MEXICO…

IMG_2633

FOR A WHILE AT LEAST!

IMG_2636

DESERT AEROSPACE, NEAR OLD ROUTE 66.

IMG_1322

OUR LITTLE DREAM ENGINE ON A SUB SONEX

http://www.sonexaircraft.com/subsonex/

IMG_2643

BACK TO THE NORTH

IMG_1371

AND OVERNIGHT IN SUGARITE CANYON STATE PARK AGAIN.

IMG_1376

A BARBEQUE FOR ENERGY

IMG_1380

GETTING A LEG UP ON A GOOD NIGHT’S REST!

IMG_1384

MAPS AND SNACKS LOADED

IMG_1385

CHECKLIST:  ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR LAUNCH!

IMG_1393

ONE LAST HIKE BEFORE THE LONG TRIP

IMG_1397

SPRING IS SLOWLY AWAKENING IN NEW MEXICO

IMG_2643

BEGINNING THE CLIMB TO…

IMG_2655

COLORADO!

IMG_2666

WYOMING WELCOME!

IMG_2669

AND THE LANDMARK OF CHUGWATER WYOMING.

I want to make some Indians sneaking up behind him!

IMG_1401

SQUEEZE BETWEEN THE TREES!

IMG_1403

AND UNLOAD AFTER THE TRAFFIC UPSETS

IMG_1399

CLEAN UP THE SPILLS

IMG_1406

AND RECLAIM MY HOME

IMG_1413

5 LOADS OF LAUNDRY

IMG_1408

WHEELS DOWN!

IMG_1411

WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL IT A “QUEEN” SIZED BED?

IMG_1414

SNOW AGAIN!!

DOUBLE FEATURE!

CAPTAIN’S LOG 15 MAY 2015

We left Apache Junction Arizona late on Wednesday May 13 after a good meal at Dirtwater Springs with Don Eyermann.  Our first stop was projected to be 4 hours by Google Maps, but my trailer rarely gets over 60 mph so we pulled in to a campsite at midnight.  There are many national forest roads near Show Low Arizona and the pine woods offered a much cooler starry night.  We look like some alien craft at night, and the dark woods were a quiet break from the constant noise of land and air traffic in Arizona.  I will miss the roar of radial engines of the warbirds though.

Our late loading effort left some cargo misplaced and hard to access but we settled in for a good night of rest after a starlight walk.  Dog stayed out listening to the creatures of the night for quite a while.  Sunrise revealed our campsite and the empty woods around us.  Dog got to run off the leash to sniff and hunt for a while.  Then we were off to New Mexico.

IMG_1267

STARSHIP LANDING

IMG_1269

CAMPING IN CRITTER WORLD

IMG_1271

READY FOR BEDDIE

IMG_1274

AND READY FOR THE NEW DAY

IMG_1278

OFF THE LEASH AND FREE

IMG_1286

GREAT BLACK HUNTER

IMG_1292

BURNING UP THE ROAD

IMG_1295

READY TO PULL OUT

IMG_1297

FOREST ROADS AREN’T PERFECT BUT CAMPING IS FREE

IMG_1300

NEW MEXICO REST AREA…VERY BASIC

IMG_1299

BYOTP…YES THOSE ARE SOILED BVDS BACK THERE

 IMG_2605

GOOGLE MAPS SENT ME ON A DUBIOUS SHORTCUT; NARROW FOR A TRAILER LOAD

 IMG_2609

WHICH TOOK ME TO THE MALPAIS NATIONAL MONUMENT

IMG_2607

MALPAIS IS SPANISH FOR BAD PLACE OR BADLANDS

  IMG_2619

IMPOSSIBLE TO WALK OR BUILD ROADS ON MANY MILES OF LAVA FLOWS

 IMG_2611

EXCEPT WHERE STOPPED BY A WALL OF ROCK CALLED THE NARROWS

IMG_2612

AN OCEAN OF LAVA FORCES THE ROAD TO FOLLOW THIS TILTED PLATE

 IMG_2623

MODERN HIGHWAY 40 FINALLY BLASTED THROUGH TO…

 IMG_2629

ALBUQUEQUE…ALL BU Q Q?

IMG_1303

AND THE ROUTE 66 RV PARK

IMG_1304

AND REST FOR THE ROAD WEARY

IMG_1305

HAVING AN EXTRA DAY THE DAWN OFFERED TIME FOR REPAIRS

IMG_1272

THE PREVIOUS NIGHT WAS A BIT CROWDED WITH OUR LOAD

IMG_1307

SO THE LOAD WAS MADE MORE ACCESSIBLE AND SECURED

IMG_1313

JUST BEFORE THE THUNDERSTORMS AND 30 MPH GUSTS ROCKED THE BOAT

IMG_1252

AND WE GOT TOTAL RELIEF FROM ARIZONA TEMPERATURES

IMG_1316

TOTAL GRIEF RELIEF

IMG_1317

NOW WE NEED TO LOSE THOSE RAINY DAY BLUES!  (AND ENJOY A SNOOZE!)

PREPARE FOR LAUNCH

CAPTAIN’S LOG 13 MAY 2015

Having completed activities in warmer climates we are ready to return to Wyoming to launch Don Quixote Aerospace.  Fellow entrepreneur Don Eyermann is using the CAD computer for an electric three wheeled vehicle design while I pack for the trip.  http://www.erv1.com/

The car hasn’t been washed for 6 month since we left during a 10 below and blizzard conditions.  The trailer was washed so the car got the treatment this time.  Dog and I made a few more trips into the desert trails before we left too.

Stops are planned for national parks and aerospace products along the way.  The first leg is short to allow an easy drive.  As it turned out we were late packing and made the park a little late so the short trip leg was a good plan.

 IMG_1214

TAILS ON TRAILS

IMG_1217

APACHE JUNCTION VISTA

IMG_1256

SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN MOODS

IMG_1246

MARTIAN IMPOSTOR

IMG_1244

WAS THIS A COYOTE OR A DOG?  THE DESERT STILL KILLS

IMG_1235

CAR WASH NEEDED…BADLY

IMG_1241

WAXING INSIDE AND OUT

IMG_1240

DON MULTI-TASKING MEALS AND DESIGNS

IMG_1258

LOADING UP

IMG_1260

READY TO ROLL

IMG_1263

ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR LAUNCH

IMG_1266

ONE LAST DESERT TRAIL ON THE WAY NORTH

SHOWTIME

SPACE ACCESS 2015 IS OUR CHANCE TO GO FOR LAUNCH

The Space Access conference is a big reason for my trip to Arizona.  Preparations and anticipation are growing.  I spent days preparing displays and had to replace my printer in the process.  Just another casualty of the war on poverty!  Dog and I still had a few more days to enjoy the trails before our return to Wyoming later.  The Month of May adds insects to the snakes of April though.  Bees and tiny biting flies reminded me of Michigan!

The conference delivered some serious progress to our venture, but another venture suffered a serious setback.  Charles Pooley of Microlaunchers passed away before the conference.  This photo tour covers a lot of hopeful ventures and opportunities.  We will share more about our directions when we have firmed up our plans and incorporation.

I expect to leave Arizona on the 13th of May and we have a few important stops along the way.  By the end of the month we may have an interesting team assembled.  This trip began early due to the ten degree below Wyoming weather in November.  Cold weather and blizzards followed us all the way to Texas.  Mechanical and medical problems complicated the entire six months of this adventure.  In the end we have many new friends in the new space movement.  The movement lost a friend who helped many along the way, so we hope we can do so in our endeavors as well.

IMG_1099

BURIED IN PREPARATIONS

IMG_1087

POSTERS FROM 2013 (BOTTOM) AND 2015 (TOP)

IMG_1107

LITTLE FOUR PEAKS AND BIG FOUR PEAKS

IMG_1111

SHADOW-SELFIE AND PATIENT DOG

IMG_1121

MY SHADOW AND ME

IMG_1123

SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN

IMG_1142

TRAIL’S END SUNSET

IMG_1136

AND A LUNAR REMINDER OF THE CONFERENCE COMING

IMG_1152

EARLY REGISTRATION GATHERING

IMG_1150

OUR DISPLAY TABLE

IMG_1162

3D PRINTERS ON THE JOB

IMG_1154

THE CONFERENCE STARTS

IMG_1165b

SURPRISE GUEST…ADAM IS A FOLLOWER OF OUR ORIONCRAFT GROUP ON FACEBOOK

IMG_1163

AND A REGULAR; JEFF GREASON OF XCOR

IMG_1174

MITCHELL BURNSIDE CLAPP OF DARPA

IMG_1177

ELECTRIC FUEL PUMPS NOW MATCH TURBOPUMPS!

IMG_1155

REX RIDENOURE OF ECLIPTIC, AN AVIONICS SUPPLIER

IMG_1171

AND ON THE JOB

IMG_1170

MICHAEL CARDEN OF XL SPACE SYSTEMS, THE H202 PROVIDER IN WYOMING

IMG_1172

BOB STEINKE OF SPEEDUP, ANOTHER WYOMING SPACE VENTURE

IMG_1198

BOB ALSO PRESENTED ELECTRIC PUMP POTENTIAL

IMG_1195

TIM BENDEL OF FRONTIER ASTRONAUTICS WITH AN AFFORDABLE PRIVATE SPACEPORT

IMG_1176

I COMPLAINED ABOUT MISSING AN RFI FOR REUSABLE SUBORBITAL SYSTEMS SO I WAS INFORMED THAT THE HEAD OF THE APPROPRIATE NASA DEPARTMENT WAS SITTING RIGHT BEHIND ME.  NO PROBLEM; THE SOLICITATION FOR MONEY HAS NOT BEEN ISSUED YET.

IMG_1197

DAVE MASTEN  PRESENTED THE SPIRIT OF THE VENTURE.

IMG_1178

PERHAPS THE BEST PART OF THIS CONVENTION IS THE MEAL TIME MEETINGS.  CASUAL GATHERINGS ALLOW US TO MEET THE OLD GUARD AND THE NEW WAVE OF INNOVATION.

IMG_1207

AND ANOTHER BADGE JOINS THE COLLECTION

Don Quixote aerospace can identify real markets and real talent to build on.  There are a few days of packing, and a long road ahead to the future.  Now we move from paper airplanes and models to the real world of new space business.  In my last blog I remembered my own mortality.  I have invested most of my energy and resources in a vision for a better future.  Now we are reminded that others before us have shared this desire so we hope that some of these goals will be realized in our lifetime.  We will still need young visionaries to carry that hope to completion.  Don Quixote Aerospace expresses the hope to leave the planet for this new frontier.  The leadership we may develop should have the support they need to become the next stage in that journey.

CHARLES POOLEY, RIP

http://hobbyspace.com/Blog/?p=10524